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MSc in Advanced Networking

This masters degree course consists of a Postgraduate Diploma in Advanced Networking and an MSc dissertation. The postgraduate diploma consists of four professional vocational modules, which include the Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) materials. The postgraduate diploma will provide you with the knowledge, understanding, and skills needed to install, configure and maintain local and wide area networks. You will be provided with hands-on experience of configuring networks at day schools and using online tools. If you complete the diploma you will be able to go on and gain the industry recognised certification by taking the CCNP examinations.

Following completion of the postgraduate diploma course, the final MSc dissertation module draws together the knowledge and skills you have gained, in a research-based project. Professionals in IT and related fields will benefit from the completion of a dissertation, helping them to develop the skills required for systematically addressing problems in their own organisations. The MSc is also relevant as a basis for further studies at doctoral level or for those working professionally requiring knowledge and experience of advanced networking and research methods.

Study Mode

Online Education, Distance Learning & External study modes available

Career relevance and employability

Cisco Systems are the market leader in the supply of networking equipment for the internet. They also have a well-established Academy programme aimed at educating network professionals. Cisco qualifications are highly regarded in the networking industry and their position at the leading edge of network development means that their Academy programme is up to date. If you complete this MSc you will be able to go on and gain the industry recognised certification by taking the CCNP examination.

There is more information about how OU study can improve your employability in the OU's Employability Statement from our Careers Advisory Service. You can also read or download our publication OU study and your career and look at our subject pages to find out about career opportunities.


For this 180-credit masters degree you require:

120 credits from the Postgraduate Diploma in Advanced Networking (E51)

And 60 credits from the following compulsory module:

Postgraduate compulsory module Credits Next start
Research project (T802)

This research course enables you to gain an MSc by building on the postgraduate diploma that you already hold. You'll develop and submit a dissertation.

See full description.

60 Oct

Educational aims

The Postgraduate Diploma and MSc in Advanced Networking form a specialist career development programme. The degree is aimed at practising professionals and managers in the fields of network engineering, computing or manufacturing, in related service industries, the public sector or educational organisations, and allows them to obtain the skills required to further their career in network engineering.

It aims to:

  • Equip you with the knowledge, understanding and professional skills, to participate in the design, building, assessment or management of advanced data communications networks.
  • Develop your ability to analyse and evaluate problems and draw on the theoretical and technical knowledge to develop solutions and systems.
  • Develop your awareness of current research in data communications networks, the analytical skills and research techniques for their critical and independent evaluation and their application to new problems.

There is a strong practical and professional orientation to the programme. If you complete the Postgraduate Diploma part of the programme you will also have the opportunity to gain the industry-recognised CCNP certification by taking the necessary Cisco examinations.

Learning outcomes

The qualification provides opportunities for you to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, qualities, skills and other attributes in the following areas:

Knowledge and understanding

  • routing protocols and their implementation in enterprise networks
  • switching protocols and VLAN design
  • network security
  • broadband network architectures
  • quality of service
  • voice over IP
  • wireless networks
  • internet protocols including V6
  • research methods and techniques appropriate to defining, planning and carrying out a research project in your chosen specialist area within data communications networks.

Cognitive skills

  • integrate knowledge and skills from various sources into a coherent whole, making the appropriate abstractions
  • deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, making informed judgements in the absence of complete data
  • demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems; critically evaluate and reflect upon your own work
  • solve problems using network modelling tools and real equipment
  • critically evaluate proposed solutions using appropriate proven methods
  • synthesise arguments from underlying premises to produce overarching conclusions
  • develop a research programme using an explicit and appropriate methodology in a chosen field ofnetwork engineering.

Practical and/or professional skills

  • be able to prepare cases advocating the appropriate use of advanced network technologies
  • be prepared to gain industry-recognised certification
  • be able to conduct research into technological issues.

Key skills

  • develop your problem-solving skills and apply them independently to professional or equivalent level tasks/projects/functions
  • build and maintain advanced networks using Cisco equipment
  • work with others to refine your ideas, leading to an improved understanding of key concepts within the computing systems context
  • act autonomously in planning, implementing and reflecting, at a professional level, on the development and use of technology to address organisational problems
  • clearly communicate knowledge, ideas and conclusions about computing systems using appropriate media, for specialist and non-specialist audiences.

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